Aging is regarded as one of the most serious issues of developed countries. This is also a significant concern for the USA. For instance, the number of people in their 20s equals to the number of Americans who are in their 50s. However, the population of children under ten is smaller than the populations mentioned above (2010 Census: United States Profile, 2015). Some may say that this is not an alarming trend, but it is clear that the tendency exists. It can be important to make sure that the US economy is ready to the changes within 20 years.
The USA is the country where many ethnicities live and interact. There are such major ethnic groups as White, African American, Asian American, Native Americans, Hispanic, people of two ethnicities and other ethnicities. However, the density of these populations in different states varies. It is possible to compare demographic data associated with the ethnicity of such highly populous states as New York and California. In New York, the white population is 66%, and the African Americans make up the biggest minority group (16%) (2010 Census Interactive Population Search, 2015). In California, White make up 58%, and the biggest minority group is Asian Americans (13%) (2010 Census Interactive Population Search, 2015). These differences have historical background.
Population density can be regarded as an illustration of the development of particular parts of any country. The more ‘successful’ a city, or a state is, the more people live there. A quick look at the map of population distribution shows that the eastern coast of the country is highly populated while only two eastern states are as populated (2010 Population Distribution in the United States and Puerto Rico, 2015). These states are California and Washington.
This means that the most financial and industrial as well as cultural ‘hubs’ are located in the eastern part. This trend may raise many questions concerning the factors affecting the population density, especially factors that contributed to the significant population density in California.
The USA is one of the most powerful countries in the world. The US middle class is the basis of the system and the wellbeing of the nation. However, there are too many poor people in the USA. It has been estimated that over 15% of Americans live in poverty (All ages in poverty, 2015). In some states, this percentage is even more disturbing. In Mississippi, 21.9% of inhabitants live in poverty (All ages in poverty, 2015). Over 19% of people in New Mexico, Louisiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia, Arizona, District of Columbia, Tennessee live in poverty. It is noteworthy that the number of poor people has increased since the 1990s.
Farming is an important sector of the US economy. Many people are involved in this type of business. According to the Census, people over 50 were mainly involved in farming in the 1990 (Average age of farm operators, 1992). This shows that younger generation is more interested in such activities as finance, services, industries and so on. However, it can be important to invest more in this sphere to attract young people, which will contribute to the wellbeing of the country. Of course, the trends may have changed, but it is still clear that Americans in their 30s are still disinterested in the development of the agricultural sector.
2010 Census Interactive Population Search. (2015). Web.
2010 Census: United States Profile. (2015). Web.
2010 Population Distribution in the United States and Puerto Rico. (2015). Web.
All ages in poverty. (2015). Web.
Average age of farm operators. (1992). Web.
Common Core Standards Vs. American College Testing
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is a policy that enumerates the academic benchmarks that high school graduates require in order to attain success in college and professional careers (Strauss, 2013). The policy is applicable to states that agree to adhere by its rules and regulations. Its rejection by educators and parents shortly after its adoption is a sign of its ineffectiveness and inefficiency (Strauss, 2013). There are alternatives that can be more efficacious than the Common Core. They include development of new standards and tests aligned with the standards, eradication of standards altogether, and adoption of American College Testing (ACT) standards.
The CCSS has undergone adoption in many states in the United States. The framework provides a strategy to ensure that learners from high school have the required competencies and knowledge. It will allow them to be ready for college, and for successful careers. Moreover, the system will guarantee that the U.S. education system will produce individuals who meet international benchmarks characterized with high levels of performance (Allen and Le, 2014).
The preparation of the CCSS has many issues that would lead to its failure. For instance, there was minimal involvement by postsecondary stakeholders in the development of the standards. It was a major issue since the policy sought to determine college attendance. Moreover, the higher education community was not aware of the requirements of the policy. Ensuring the participation of higher education personnel would have ensured that they could apply high valued goals like increasing the number of students who complete college credentials. Additionally, it would have led to a reduction in the number of students in need of remedial.
It is imperative to come up with new standards for application in guiding the education system. The CCC lost the support from educators, parents, and teachers to several factors (Strauss, 2014). It is outdated, complicated, and too straightforward. Essentially, it had too many disadvantages that affected educators.
The CCSS policy involves the implementation of a set of standards students at different levels should follow (New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards, 2015). Moreover, the policy requires that students’ should not only provide a particular answer, but they should also apply particular strategies. Several states in the U.S. have adopted the policy. Proponents of the policy detail that the CCSS allows students to achieve specific goals and be ready for college (Decker, 2015). Despite the advantages, school districts have begun to develop new policies as major stakeholders consider the CCSS inefficient and even disadvantageous to the entire process of teaching and learning (Phillips & Wong, 2010).
The CCSS is problematic, as it has not changed anything within the education sector. It has led to an increasing number of students who ignore certain subjects since they are unable to meet the requirements. It arises from a situation where teachers get involved in ensuring the students are ready for the tests. They do not consider the preference of the students. It leads to a reduction in the quality of learning. Moreover, the standards set by the policy are hard to achieve for many students.
The policy allows the curriculum to teach the difficult material to students. Specifically, students in elementary school do tasks that once belonged to secondary school level (Griffith, 2011). Many scholars often see the policy as too strict. Students forcefully learn and internalize larger quantities of information within a short time. It creates a burden for the students. The parents also suffer, as they have to help their children while at home. These issues have made the policy an unattractive choice. It is vital to come up with a new alternative that is better for students, educators, and parents (Ellenberg, 2015).
Research by Philip and Wong (2010) indicates that the current trend in CCSS does not serve society well. The CCSS is a way to provide opportunities for students to go to college. Despite this, there are a large number of students who are not lucky in passing the CCSS. Not all students are ready for college. Those who pass may end up failing in college. According to Griffith (2011), there is a gap between subgroups and normal groups.
The subgroups include subpopulations of students such as the gifted and improvised lifestyles. This group requires special education during application of the educational policy. It is vital that the CCSS considers their needs, or they will not gain for the policy.
The American College Testing standards can be used as alternatives to the Common Core Policy. The standards evaluate the degree of student development of knowledge and skills in certain academic areas. They would be effective because they would monitor the academic progress of students from grades 3 through 12 (Anderson, 2014). The possible outcomes for this alternative include highly-specific standards on different academic areas, better learning due to application of superior instruction methods, increased student proficiency, better testing, and increased student incentives. The evaluation criteria would involve standardized tests that comprise written and oral tests. The main objective of tests would be to evaluate students and determine whether they are ready for college.
Advantages and disadvantages
ACT standards create a link between what students have learned and what they will learn later. Moreover, they incorporate surveys to ensure that the standards are aligned with what students will learn in college (Anderson, 2014). The Standards ensure that test scores relate to the skills that students need to succeed. In addition, they unravel and inculcate skills that students need to develop in certain academic areas in order to achieve their academic and career goals. The Standards can work more effectively than Common Core Standards because they link learning goals to educational expectations. ACT tests are research-based, immune to government interference, and evaluate whether students are ready for college (Standards alignment, 2015).
Unlike Common Core, ACT focuses on many course standards in various academic areas that blur the clarity and effectiveness of the policy. In addition, it does not customize instruction to the needs of specific students who have different learning styles and capabilities. Finally, it does not include extra student support and interventions as part of the core requirements for the attainment of success by students in academic endeavors.
Development of new standards and tests
Another alternative to the problem is development of new standards and tests. This alternative would involve conducting thorough research to determine the specific skills and knowledge that students need in order to succeed in different careers. Research would explore the weaknesses of the Common Core and other state standards and use the findings to create more effective standards and tests (Bloom, 2013). This alternative would lead to students that are more proficient because the standards would primarily focus on instilling knowledge and skills required for specific careers that students want to pursue. The evaluation criteria would involve the use of tests that align with the new standards and that adhere to desired learning outcomes and objectives..
Advantages and disadvantages
This alternative would only comprise standards that have been proven effective over time and through research. Different states have applied different standards over time. This alternative would study and adopt the standards that had positive effects on students. In addition, it would involve the participation of teachers, students, academics, policy think tanks, religious groups, educational agencies, and politicians (Bloom, 2013). Schools would be required to adopt the Common Core before the new standards are developed. Another approach to this alternative is to find states that have been successful in the application of their standards. For example, the standards used by Massachusetts prior to the adoption of Common Core have been appraised as potential model standards (Bloom, 2013).
One of the disadvantages is that it would take a long time to implement it. Conducting research, holding public hearings, writing new standards, and creating tests to align with the standards would consume a lot of time (Bloom, 2013). For instance, the Common Core took 24 months to create. Another disadvantage is the high amount of money needed. This would burden the taxpayers and place great pressure on the education system. Waiting that long for new standards would affect students adversely.
Abolishment of the standards model
Abolishment of standards would involve complete abdication of academic benchmarks and the embracement of a model that focuses on students’ different gifts and capabilities. Setting standards makes it difficult for some students because of variations in learning styles and capabilities (Corbett, 2014). This alternative would encourage instructors to provide variety among students, develop their curiosity and aptitudes, customize teaching methods to different students, and challenge students to transcend memorizing information for the sake of tests (Corbett, 2014).
This alternative would increase moral among students because it would make learning interesting, agreeable, and an exciting experience. Completion of projects would be the main evaluation criteria. Standardized tests would not be included because they promote memorization of information rather than understanding.
Advantages and disadvantages
This alternative would be beneficial because it would take into consideration the learning needs and capabilities of all students. Teaching methods would aim to cater for the specific needs of individual students (Corbett, 2014). In addition, it would reduce the pressure that is placed on students to memorize information and attain certain grades in various academic areas. This would increase real learning and enhance the intrinsic motivation and desire to attain knowledge. It would also increase the level of student participation and engagement during learning.
Lack of standards could result to low quality of education because it would be very difficult for a teacher to customize teaching methods for individual students. This would make it tiresome, time consuming, and very expensive (Phillips & Wong, 2010). On the other hand, it would be difficult to develop tests to evaluate students’ proficiency and skills.
The ACT is the best alternative in this context. ACT is a useful measuring tool that will ascertain the educational achievement of students. The ACT will be a legitimate way to establish how well schools are doing, and will detail the performance of students. Its advantages arise from the inclusion of higher education stakeholders in its formulation (Phillips & Wong, 2010). This essential ingredient deviates from the CCSS.
Colleges will play a part in the progress of students, and will find it easier to trace their progress within the K12 systems. The ACT is effective as it is an accurate indicator of performance. It provides a way to determine how students are performing in different subjects and compares it to a national group. Colleges, to come up with course suggestions for students, can then use this information. Moreover, teachers will establish the needs of students.
The ACT acts as an avenue for change. It allows educational policy makers to determine areas that require resources or additional funding. For example, the government allocates special funds to support staff development and after-school lessons for low-performing students. The ACT is research based. It is efficient to administer as it makes it easy to trace the performance of students throughout the school system (Griffith, 2011). The ACT also links learning goals to educational expectations. It allows the students to have the necessary skills to achieve their academic and career goals. This information is vital to ensure that learners are ready for college.
A disadvantage of the ACT, like most performance tests, is that it pushes teachers to follow a culture of permanent test preparations. The students attend classes with the ultimate goal of performing well in the test, and they do not learn. The test also has the disadvantage of negative pressures on schools. The salary and staffing for schools are dependent on the ACT, and schools will try to follow unethical ways to improve performance. For instance, they would rig the ACT. Students could also be required to attend classes that do not challenge them if they perform poorly. It leaves the students unmotivated.
The tests also do not measure the skills easily (Phillips & Wong, 2010). Even though the ACT would be vital in determining college applications, it does not measure the students’ knowledge of a given task. The ACT lacks credibility, as the results depend on what educators do in the classroom. Additionally, the use of multiple-choice questions means that the systems measures skills and knowledge, instead of problem solving and creativity.
In conclusion, the rampant rejection of the Common Core is a sign that the policy is ineffective and inefficient. Three potential alternatives include American College Testing (ACT) standards, development of new standards, and abolishment of the standards system. These alternatives have different pros and cons. However, they can make effective replacements for the Common Core Standards.
Students have different learning styles and capabilities. Therefore, developing a one-fit-all system is ineffective and inappropriate. They need individualized learning methods that cater to their varied learning desires, interests, aptitudes, and cognitive capabilities. The proposed alternatives would put into consideration the differences that exist among students and would emphasize the development of curiosity and individual aptitudes. In this regard, the ACT is the best possible solution to deal with the issues that have plagued the CCSS.
|Feasibility of __
Evaluation Criteria __
ACT (The American College Testing standards)
Development of New Standards and Tests
Abolishment of the Standards Model
Figure 1: Alternative matrix.
Based on the alternative matrix, the ACT is a feasible solution in comparison to the other alternatives.
Allen, L., & Le, C. (2014). How to help struggling high school students reach Common Core standards. Web.
Anderson, D. (2014). Replacing Common Core with Proven Standards of Excellence. Web.
Bloom, M. (2013). Core questions: What are potential alternatives to the Common Core Standards? Web.
Corbett, J. (2014). The Answer to Common Core: Alternative Models of Education.
Decker, G. (2015). Ahead of state’s Common Core review, Commissioner Elia looks outside New York. Chalkbeat New York.
Ellenberg, J. (2015). Meet the new Common Core. The New York Times.
New York State P-12 Common Core learning standards. (2015). Web.
Standards alignment. (2015). Web.
Strauss, V. (2013). The Common Core’s Fundamental Trouble.
Strauss, V. (2014). Why support for Common Core is sinking. The Washington Post.
Racial Discrimination In The “Selma” Film
The modern American society is characterized by the racial diversity. Unfortunately, the major social groups often feel hostility to the ethnic minority groups and express it by rights violations or social oppressions. Throughout the history, it happened for very different reasons: the competition for the financial resources or the political domination, etc. The movie “Selma” tells one of the most famous stories about the discrimination and its overcoming on a national scale.
It describes the efforts of a prominent public figure, Martin Luther King, to fight against injustice. Although the segregation of African Americans in the USA has ended before the 1960s, the period described in the movie, the Blacks continued to face discrimination on the everyday basis. Mr. King’s attempts to put the racism to an end has eventually provoked the positive impacts on the social environment in the country but the oppressions on the racial basis, frequently small or indirect, happen even today.
In adolescence, the discrimination against races wasn’t so obvious to me because there were only Latinos and Blacks in my school. The college populace is more diverse in this regard. The existence of cultural and ethnic prejudices in the society became more obvious, and sometimes I had a chance to witness the intercultural conflicts and racial discrimination. Usually, I let people express their opinions and never interfere with their personal perceptions of the various social and cultural phenomena. I believe in the freedom of though and sharing ideas. However, it’s hard to stand when people are prejudiced against races.
The Hispanics are exposed to discrimination as well as the African Americans. It is possible to say that Hispanic community is distinct in the USA, and the level of its cultural assimilation in the American hosting culture is not that high. The majority of Hispanics, especially the older generations, stay loyal to their customs and traditions, and many of them feel reluctant to study the English language. The high rates of the illegal penetration into the country have also affected the Hispanics’ image negatively.
Although, there are the people with the illegal status who live in the USA, there is also a great number of legit citizens emigrated from the Hispanic countries who simply want to enjoy all their rights and be treated respectfully in their newly found homeland.
In my opinion, mass media play one of the crucial roles in the dissemination of information about the tolerance, ethnic acceptance, and fight against the rights violation. In “Selma,” they have shown how the mass media provoked the White American population to stand for the rights of Black people despite the common negative perceptions regarding the minor ethnic groups. The TV broadcasted the violence against the King’s movement participants, and it induced a tremendous turmoil in the audience of different races.
When talking about the modern-day situation, the mass media often addresses the issue of the illegal residents from Mexico and other Hispanic countries and discussing this issue from a negative perspective. It provokes the public hostility towards the Hispanics, and this attitude affects their life in a wrong way. The perceived discrimination has a negative impact on the social and professional performance. The depression and the different forms of anxiety are becoming more and more common among the Hispanic youth, and the failure to feel oneself accepted and to deal with the enmity and underestimation of one’s talents and capabilities are the main causes for this.
In my opinion, it is fine to talk about the illegal activities on the television – people need to know about the real situation. But at the same time, the mass media need to provoke the feeling of ethnic tolerance and emphasize the importance of the unprejudiced treatment of people. Each person must be treated according to his/her inner characteristics, talents, and morality and never mistreated because of the racial prejudices.